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Plaid Top Tutorial: Lesson 8–Lined Patch Pocket

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023

Today we move on to another fun technique:  a lined patch pocket.  I kinda made this up along the way (my first photos are not included because I figured out a better way…this is the revised and improved method!). The flannel is SO soft and comfy–in part because the weave is dense but not terribly tight. That means I might be able to wear holes in the bottom of the pockets, so I decided to give them some strength and structure by adding a lining.  The hand-dyed blue was in my stash and worked well enough  I also really liked the frayed selvage edge of the fabric so decided to use that as a decorative element.  I cut the pockets with the  the upper edge of the pocket on the selvage (lengthwise edge of the fabric) instead of the usual orientation.

Here’s what we are doing today–pockets!

Please note:  I am affiliated with Janome as a Janome Artisan and am compensated.  However, my reviews are honest and I would say what I say whether affiliated or not.  I’ve also chosen to be affiliated with Janome since 2003 (!!!) because their machines are so good and they are so responsive to the interests and needs of their customers.

Let’s dive into the details!  First cut out your pocket including either a turn back (flap that will turn toward the garment or, as I did, a flap that will fold down over the front of the pocket.  In the next photo, I’m preparing the cut pocket piece by sewing a basting stitch to make it easier to get a consistent turned-under seam allowance.

Sometimes taking an extra step makes things easier, not harder. This is one of those times. Sew with a basting stitch–I used about a 3.5 stitch length–1/2″ from the raw edge. This leaves 1/8″ between the basting and the turned edge line. The basting won’t show when the pocket is turned right side out, but the stitched line makes is SO much easier to turn accurately!

Using something firm like card stock, index card, or a cereal box, cut a quarter circle. I folded a sorta-square piece of cardstock into quarters, marked a set distance (an inch), then used a round item (think jar, pepper mill base, even (!!) a quilting template) that has a curve shape that  you like. Be sure the curve intersects the distance marks so it curves symmetrically round the corner.

Notice that the top edge, with the fringed selvage, is pin marked where it will fold over to the outside of the pocket.

If your finished pocket is 6×6″ (honestly I’m not sure what size I cut mine, just using this to make the math simple!), you’ll have cut it 5/8″ seam allowance + 6″ + 5/8″ seam allowance = 7 1/4″.  Now, you’ll want to cut your lining smaller so that it is nicely hidden.  That means the lining would be cut at 6×6″ or a perhaps 6″ wide by 6 1/4″ long (to allow you an extra bit to tuck under at the top.  You will sew it to the pocket exterior with 1/4″ seams allowance, NOT 5/8″!

Press under 1/4-1/2″ at the top (see photo). Sew the lining to the exterior of the pocket with 1/4″ seams, right sides together, on the sides and bottom ONLY, but SKIP sewing those fiddly curves at the bottom.

Turn the pocket right sides out and press so that the lining is centered and you see about 3/8″ of the fashion fabric on the edges.

For my fringe-flap, I just tugged it out of the way.  Then I edge-stitched the top (turned under) edge of the lining started about 1/2″ away from the outer edges of the pocket — this allows you some leeway when you deal with hiding that flap. Clarification to caption above:  the turn-down is on the outside and doesn’t cover the lining, but the lining stitching is hidden by / covered by the turned down flap.

The corners are, honestly, a bit of a nuisance, but you can do it!  Just tuck them inside, clip into the seam allowance as needed to facilitate turning and press the daylights out of them.  I have become a fan of–don’t faint–washable glue stick.  It works and is easier than pins, clips and whatnot.  Just use a toothpick or the tip of your seam ripper to dab some between the seam allowances of the lining and fashion fabric to hold them together.  The glue will wash out in the first laundering!  I prefer glue stick to dots of white glue because it is already sorta dry and doesn’t soak through the fabric or require extra drying time.

Here’s the lined and pressed pocket from the front side.

Next I needed to deal with that flap detail.

This is another spot where a dab of washable glue stick between each of the layers can help.

The second line of stitching, above, means that those unstitched rounded corners on the lining are trapped between the two lines of stitching and won’t go anywhere.

And there we go–pretty lined plaid pockets, perfectly matched, ready to use: kleenex, keys, doggie treats!

The next post will be the last in this series with hem finishing and the easy-peasy scarf!  See you then!

Here are the links to all the posts in this series of lessons, techniques that can be applied to virtually any garment and many home dec projects.   Let me know what you’d like to learn and see here on the blog.  Cheers and thanks, Sarah

Lesson 1:   Choosing a Pattern and Starting Tips

Lesson 2:   Making a Muslin, Fitting and Sleeves

Lesson 3:   Matching Plaids, Cutting out Your Garment Pieces

Lesson 4:  Overcast Seams, just like Serged Seams

Lesson 5:   French Seams

Lesson 6:  Lapped and Flat-felled Seams

Lesson 7:  Hong Kong Finish for Seams

Lesson 8:  Lined Patch Pocket Tutorial

Lesson 9:  Hems and Scarf

Plaid Top Tutorial: Lesson 7-Hong Kong Finish Seams

Friday, March 10th, 2023

Hong Kong seams are a thing of beauty–a little extra work but a secret delight!  So even though I didn’t use them in this plaid top, I’m including them with all the seam lessons in this series of technique posts.  I did use them on both my Simplicity S8883  top, full blogpost here, and the Brumby Skirt.   I also used this finish on a jacket I made for my daughter-in-law some years ago that I swear I wish she could wear inside out LOL!

That lime green on the shoulder and princess seams is a Hong Kong finish.

And the Brumby Skirt from Megan Nielsen, inside out! Same lime green (I bought several yards of it, a cotton lawn) for Hong Kong finishes. Such a pretty Pop!

Please note:  I am affiliated with Janome as a Janome Artisan and am compensated.  However, my reviews are honest and I would say what I say whether affiliated or not.  I’ve also chosen to be affiliated with Janome since 2003 (!!!) because their machines are so good and they are so responsive to the interests and needs of their customers.




And here is one of my all time favorite in my life insides of a garment, the jacket for Ashley:

Top left:  front.  Bottom left, back.  Right side:  all those beautifully finished seams.  I had gone looking for a lightweight fabric and found the print and thought Oh YES!  This is a heavily modified pattern…changed it from hip length single breasted to double breasted jacket, Peter Pan collar changed to roll collar, added vents at the bottom rear, a box pleat for movement / ease in the center back…you get the picture.

But aren’t these seams pretty?????   So here is how you do it.  This process is VERY similar to putting a binding on a quilt for those of you who know how to do that, except that the back side–the one between the seam allowance and the body of the garment, is a raw edge and is not turned under.  This minimizes bulk. Because it is cut on the bias it doesn’t pose a fraying problem!

    1. We will assume a 5/8″ seam allowance.

    2. To cover 1/4″ on the side of the seam allowance that you see, you will cut a strip on the bias that is about 1″ wide.

    3.  Choose a very lightweight fabric that is not bulky.  Cotton lawn is an excellent choice — it is significantly lighter in weight than quilting cottons, handles well, and is soft against the skin.  You can choose to match colors or, as I did, pick something zingy and pretty! You could also use a super soft jersey knit, and decades ago they used to sell nylon tricot (ick!  felt like plastic) in strips for just this purpose. For garments that won’t be laundered you could also use a fine silk. ***Be sure to pre-shrink / pre-wash any fabric just as you did with your main garment fabric.  You don’t want it to shrink after you’ve completed the garment and have it distort things.

4. Sew the bias to the seam allowance with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Be careful not to stretch the bias strip.  Trim the ends even with the end of the seam.  If part of the seam will be covered by a hem, and therefore enclosed, you only need to extend the finish to the point where the bottom 1/4 – 1/2 inch will be covered.

5. Press the bias away from the seam.

6. Gently fold the bias around the seam allowance so it snugs up against the raw edge.  Pin or glue-stick in place.

7. Stitch in the ditch with a thread to match the fashion fabric to secure the finish.  If you have cut your strips at 1″, about a scant 1/4″ will extend from the ditch-stitching towards the seam.  You can leave it or trim it down to 1/8″.

8. Press, and stand back and enjoy the beauty.

The first lesson / project for Garment Maker’s Question Time is a shift dress (with or without a waistline seam), something that I would Never, EVER wear.  And I already knew how to do an invisible zipper.  So I bought a pattern for a fitted dress with a waist seam, center back zip and very short sleeves.  I did the muslin / toile (the fitting garment where you figure out your needed alterations) as a dress, then totally hacked the dress into a square (not rounded) neck, longer sleeves, moved the waistline up to empire height, eliminated the center back seam since I could get into the top without a zip because of my modifications, and converted gathers into pleats.  I LOVE this linen (from linens, I used the IL-19 Softened in Beet) and found the perfect Kaffe Fassett shot cotton plaid (heavier than lawn but lighter than quilting cotton) to be the Hong Kong Finishes.  I like it so much I may use the leftover linen and find some more of the plaid and make a tank with the plaid visible!

Here’s a collage of the construction process.  Apparently I posted about this on social media (circa February 2021) but never did blog about it! oooops.  I am sure I also put it in my newsletter–if you’d like to receive the monthly newsletter, sign up at the bottom of every page or in the right sidebar on my blog!

Here’s another collage that shows the Brumby skirt (I SO want to make one in denim like the pattern, but at a length suitable to my age and legs!), the inside and the pattern cover.  AND, just this week I bought the denim–100 percent cotton denim no less.  Now, to finish Eli’s quilt so I can get some garment making done!

Last but not least, here’s the right side of the Simplicity S8883 top.  You can’t see that it has princess seams–this is one of the patterns that actually has cup sizes built into the pattern—wonderful!  It is made from a Rifle Paper Co. print (a quilting cotton) and I just love wearing it!

So that’s a wrap up and samples of Hong Kong finish.  I think I will do my denim Brumby with this finish…stay tuned!

Here are the links to all the posts in this series of lessons, techniques that can be applied to virtually any garment and many home dec projects.   Let me know what you’d like to learn and see here on the blog.  Cheers and thanks, Sarah

Lesson 1:   Choosing a Pattern and Starting Tips

Lesson 2:   Making a Muslin, Fitting and Sleeves

Lesson 3:   Matching Plaids, Cutting out Your Garment Pieces

Lesson 4:  Overcast Seams, just like Serged Seams

Lesson 5:   French Seams

Lesson 6:  Lapped and Flat-felled Seams

Lesson 7:  Hong Kong Finish for Seams

Lesson 8:  Lined Patch Pocket Tutorial

Lesson 9:  Hems and Scarf

Anthea Blouse in Sky Blue Linen

Thursday, October 6th, 2022

While visiting my favorite local shop, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, one of the young women working there had on her version of this blouse. Asked the pattern name–Anthea by Anna Allen–went home and ordered it! The colors I’m wearing are Maine Summer and it is so flattering to many body types and comfortable.

Today’s blogpost takes you through making an entire blouse, which presser feet I use on my Janome (I’m a brand ambassador and compensated, but I’d say all this good stuff anyway…they rock!) m7Continental, why and offer tips and tricks for garment construction. Pretty much all Janome machines have or have available these presser feet with the possible exception of the automatic buttonhole, which many but not all of the Janome models have. Comment and let me know what more you’d like to know and what you’d like me to feature on the blog! I’m scaling back travel teaching and hope to have more time for this sort of thing.

The first thing to do is sew your side and shoulder seams. I opted for French seams for a clean, no-fraying finish. With a 5/8″ seam allowance, I sewed with the WRONG sides together at 3/8.” First press the seam as stitched (flat), then trim to a scant 1/4″ and press the seam allowance open.
Be sure to trim off the whiskers–you won’t be able to coax them inside the enclosing seam and trimming them a headache.
This shows me holding the fabric with right sides together; the fabric is folded EXACTLY on the first line of stitching. You then sew 1/4″ away to enclose all the raw edges.
Sew the second part of the French Seam at 1/4″. If you’ve trimmed any stray threads/whiskers, you’ll have a beautiful clean seam. Press to one side (for my blouse I pressed to the back). Notice that the edge of the fabric/seam is on the 3/8″ line but the needle is moved right of center to be at the 1/4″ seamline.
Next, I am stabilizing the button band by using cotton voile (preshrunk) as my interfacing. Unlike the polyesters or fusible we are used to using, it provides strength without bulk and retains a soft, fluid hand to the garment. I sewed the edges in place (so the strip won’t wiggle and wad up during use). The zipper foot is one of my favorite ways to get a perfect, consistent edge: set the side of the foot on the edge of the interfacing and move the needle toward the center. Be sure it won’t hit the foot but also doesn’t ride on the very outer edge of the interfacing and chew it up. ON the left you can see stay stitching.
I’ve folded the cut-on button band to the inside and am now stitching it to the front. When I have a “lip” or folded edge and want to edge stitch, I use either the edge stitching foot (on the right, which I think of as the Ice Skate with the metal guide in the center) or the over cast foot (on the left, in use). Using a straight stitch, place the foot so the blade is snug against the fold and move the needle to make a nice, narrow topstitch. Be sure the needle won’t hit the wires in the presser foot by hand-walking the needle for one or two stitches.
Next up: applying a bias binding to enclose the seam and act as a facing on the neckline. Here I’m using what may be my favorite presser foot, the F2 appliqué foot. The wide open toes and clear visibility help me sew more carefully and precisely. This photo applies to both facing the neckline and covering the edges of the set-in sleeve seam.
Buying a GOOD quality tailor’s ham and base to hold it has been one of the best, most useful purchases of the year. After 50 years of using my mother’s horrid old ham, I’m ready to sew! Here I’m pressing the bias in place on the neckline. You can see the narrow French seam on the shoulder in the center of the photo. As I press, I am easing the bias so that it lays nice and flat. I used my seam gauge to make sure the depth is even, then edge-stitch all the way around the neck.
Once the body is complete (except for the hem), it is time to start the sleeves. Although I have sewn garments for almost (GULP) 60 years–yes I started very young–I’ve been taking an outstanding online course with Philippa Naylor, Garment Makers Question Time. The price is phenomenal for the amount of instruction you get each of the 12 months. More projects coming up! Anyway, I learned to set the gathering stitches at 1/2″ and 3/4″ and sew down the middle at 5/8″. Philippa’s way works better: sew your gathering stitches one thread into the seam allowance from the final seam line and 1/4″ closer to the raw edge. Gather, distribute the gathering appropriately, and then sew the seam just barely to the left of the left-side gathering stitch. I like using a thin bamboo skewer to coax and ease the gathers as I stitch. Again, I love that open visibility foot!

Here is a link to Philippa’s Garment Makers Question Time home page. Highly recommended!

Here is the sleeve with the seam sewn and gathers gathered. I was a tad leery that the shoulders would be too narrow, but I did the right thing and made a toile (practice garment) out of cheap cheap cheap white fabric, and the sleeve seam is indeed set in from the shoulder point–this helps the gathers get that nice rounded puff! For the hem, at the top of the next photo, I sewed a linen bias strip to the right side, turned to the inside, and hand-sewed it into place.
LOOKIT that perfect match! On the first try no less! Once the sleeves are sewn to the bodice, you’ll need to finish the raw edges. The gathers in the sleeves make it too thick for a French Seam, so I chose to use I used a bias edge finish similar to a single-fold bias binding on a quilt. On the neck, the bias was entirely folded to the inside of the garment. Here, you stitch the bias strip of fabric–a lightweight cotton lawn in lime green–to the seam, wrap it around the raw edges, then stitch in the ditch to secure it. I also managed a perfect join on the bias for the “cuff.” Note that the pattern has a wide opening for the bottom of the sleeve–way too wide for the size of my arms. I gathered it up more, making sure it still moved smoothly over/around the elbow, and just made mine narrower.
Covering up the raw edges where the sleeve joins the body. Again I’m using the zipper foot. For the way my eyes and brain work, I get the needle closest to the edge of the bias using the zipper foot and moving the needle as far right as it goes. Keep a hawk eye on your stitching because it is all too easy to wander and veer onto the bias.
Janome’s automatic buttonhole foot (available on select models including the 9450 and M7) is amazing. You set the button into the back and it picks the perfect size. You can fine tune it if the button is thick or thin. ALWAYS to a test-stitch on a scrap (using the same interfacing and number of layers). You can see I have carefully marked the center of the button holes plus the start and stop lines. The Janome foot has a metal base plate that keeps everything flat and feeding perfectly. Here’s a video of it in action!
You can subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking on the YouTube link (bottom left) and then following the subscribe button on that site, I don’t post often, but there are some useful videos there. Or just click here to go to my YouTube home page.
This is the setting I used.
Worn tucked in with a linen skirt in gray. Blouse fabric is the IL-19 5.3 oz linen from Skirt linen is the Driftwood Linen from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply near me in Belfast, Maine; I bought the Brumby skirt pattern there, too. Yes, they do online / mail order!
I had some leftover linen, so I made a scarf, too. I sewed a narrow zigzag on all four sides, then carefully frayed the edges. Here’s the link to the pattern again: Anthea by Anna Allen.
You can also wear the blouse out–it has a narrow 1/2″ hem.
You can even wear it to Broomstick Riding Lessons (at Alnwick Castle this summer)! Funnest photo and time ever!
And you can also wear it after you have walked from Scotland to England—all the way across a 100 foot long bridge! With my oldest son and DIL on a trip of a lifetime.

Well I can’t believe it has been half a year since I blogged… that tells you how crazy busy this summer has been. All good stuff, but all at once. I am looking forward to being HOME for three straight months once I return from Houston / International Quilt Festival where I’ll be teaching again. I will try my best to be back before the end of the year…like maybe even in a month?

Teaching Online this August! Join me!

Monday, June 21st, 2021

Guess what I’m teaching online again! in August at the Mancuso World Quilt Fest!  Enjoy the video below– and then go sign up for my workshops here:    For more info, you can also visit my workshop page here

Here’s the hotlink to sign up again:

These are three of my favorite workshops, and in consideration of SUMMER and being able to get back out into the world (WOOOOOT!), I chose half-day workshops so you can learn then go play and actually smile at people–all of their faces–in person!

This is the LAST TIME I’ll be teaching online win a public venue (there are two guild jobs I’m doing online) this year, and I don’t know if I will be teaching online next year or not. For sure, I am cutting back on my teaching schedule, so get these while you can! Hope you’ll join me!

PLEASE feel free to comment and ask questions!

Winding Ways: quilt and done!

Saturday, August 29th, 2020
Good tools (AccuQuiltGO!), good fabric (Michael Miller Fabrics), good thread (Aurifil), good machine (Janome Continental M7), and some experience, and you can do a lot! This return to my quilty roots just makes me happy!

Over the course of the year I’ve shared progress on this quilt:

  • First, there was learning to use the AccuQuiltGO! which I blogged about here. It was a different block, but the easy applies.
  • Then there is the PIECING of CURVES: see the blogpost here or go directly to the video on my YouTube Channel here.
  • Now there is the quilting video (that covers a couple other things), embedded below and share-able on my YouTube Channel here.

Full disclosure: I have proudly been a Janome Artisan since 2003, and this year am a Michael Miller Fabrics Brand Ambassador for 2020. MMF provided the fabric and we were given, as part of being a brand ambassador, an AccuQuiltGo and several dies. To my surprise I enjoyed the process so much I have purchased both the Winding Ways and Crossed Canoe dies. Stay tuned for more!

This is the die that I purchased to make the Winding Ways, which has always been one of my favorite traditional blocks. Click this link to see a blogpost of using the AccuQuiltGO (for another block, but it’s the exact same process) including a video.
I found this design somewhere on the internet and printed it out to mess around with a design for a future quilt! Stay tuned for a WANDERING Winding Ways! Using a grid like this can help you plan out fun color fades and settings.

Next came machine quilting. I worked on that a while back–I did end up teaching for the Mancuso Online Quiltfest in August and will do a Threadcoloring the Garden workshop in October! More info on that soon! In this video I’m practicing making a video, demonstrating at the machine, and it just happens to be walking foot quilting (fast! easy!) on my beloved Janome M7. Even if I had paid full price instead of being a Janome Artisan I’d rave about this machine’s wonderfulness! Their new slogan, Reliability by Design, is really true!

Then, the hand quilting and the finishing!

I haven’t done any hand stitching in a thousand years, but nearly two years ago I bought matching green thread from aurifil in piecing/light quilting weight and a heavier 12-wt that is about the size of a light perle cotton or 6-strands of floss. I LOVE IT…and it went so fast! I can remember clearly sitting on the porch in early summer, something to watch on the iPad, stitching away.

I just love how an angled shot shows the texture and dimension. I was surprised at how quickly the hand stitching went. I used the same green color of thread on the green parts for machine quilting as the green in the heavyweight Aurifil thread.

I wanted to repeat the orange batik in the center on the edges, but using it as the binding was too much. I instead inserted a tiny stitched down “reveal” that is a scant 1/8″ just inside the white binding. Can I also put in a plug for Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture solids? The quality of the base cloth is SO GOOD! And the consistency in color / dye lots over the years is really amazing. I dye fabric and know how hard it is to get perfect matches from batch to batch and it does.

Last but not least, those skinny inserts and perfect corners.

I taught the half day version of my bindings workshop at the Mancuso Online Quiltfest in June and may do so again in the new year. I am scheduled to teach and have an exhibit of my work at the Mid-Atlantic Quiltfest in Virginia in February, but at this point who knows if it will be in person or online! I promise I will teach the bindings (full or half day) again in the new year online, just need to figure out when. My students in June had GREAT results online so it works online too!

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed my 2020 detour back to my quilty roots. Coming soon, a new art quilt!